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Two 'Presidents' vie for control of the Democratic Republic of Congo

12/21/2011, 6:10 p.m.
Two 'Presidents' vie for control of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Dec. 20 (GIN) - As tanks circled the capital city of Kinshasa, Joseph Kabila was sworn in as president for a second term in office.

His victory in the November poll was upheld by the nation's Supreme Court, but widely condemned as "flawed" by western countries including the U.S. Zimbabwe's Pres. Robert Mugabe was the only foreign leader to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

Kabila's rival, Etienne Tshisekedi, dismissed the vote results and in a flashback to a similar crisis in the Ivory Coast, he claimed to be the real winner and announced an inauguration ceremony for himself later this week.

For Tshisekedi, age 78, this might be the last bite at the apple for political office in a long career that included a decade of service as justice minister under reviled leader Mobutu Sese Seko, and then as a critic of Mobutu and leader of a new opposition party. According to the book "The Assassination of Lumumba," Mr Tshisekedi opposed the popular first prime minister and pioneer of African Unity, Patrice Lumumba, and took part in the negotiations about his fate.

"Every day of my life I've dreamt of becoming president of the republic," he said in a July interview. "Now the moment has come for that dream to become a reality."